Four MPs join contest to become SNP’s new leader at Westminster
The new group leader will be announced on Wednesday evening.
Four SNP MPs have put themselves forward to be the party’s new Westminster leader as nominations for the job opened.
Ian Blackford, Joanna Cherry, Drew Hendry and Tommy Sheppard are all vying to succeed Angus Robertson after he lost his seat in the House of Commons in the general election.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday evening, as Parliament gets back to business after the snap election.
Ms Cherry, the MP for Edinburgh South West, said on Twitter: “Happy to confirm that today I shall seek nomination as @theSNP Westminster group leader.”
Happy to confirm that today I shall seek nomination as @theSNP Westminster group leader— Joanna Cherry QC MP (@joannaccherry) June 13, 2017
That came after Mr Blackford, who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber, tweeted on Monday night: “I can confirm that I will be a candidate for SNP group leader at Westminster. As it is an internal election I will make no further comment.”
I can confirm that I will be a candidate for SNP group leader at Westminster. As it is an internal election I will make no further comment.— Ian Blackford (@IanBlackfordMP) June 12, 2017
Mr Hendry, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said he was “delighted to announce” he was seeking the support of colleagues for the post.
Delighted to announce that I am seeking the support of my @theSNP MP colleagues for selection as their Westminster group leader— Drew Hendry MP (@drewhendrySNP) June 12, 2017
Mr Sheppard, the Edinburgh East MP, also declared he would be standing, saying: “Pleased to say I have decided to seek nomination for @theSNP Westminster group leader.”
Pleased to say I have decided to seek nomination for @theSNP Westminster group leader.— Tommy Sheppard MP (@TommySheppard) June 12, 2017
The contest comes after Mr Robertson lost the Moray seat he had held since 2001 to Douglas Ross of the Scottish Conservatives.
Mr Robertson, who was also SNP depute leader, was one of the party’s high-profile defeats on election night, losing the seat by 18,478 votes to 22,637.
Thanks for the kind messages from political friends & foes. It's been an honour to be MP for Moray for 16yrs and wish my successor well.— Angus Robertson (@AngusRobertson) June 9, 2017
The SNP won 35 seats in last week’s election, down 21 from 2015, with the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all making gains across Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted the issue of another independence ballot was a factor in last Thursday’s vote, and she said the party will reflect on its plan amid calls for it to be taken off the table.
She has turned her focus to the UK’s Brexit approach as political leaders including Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson call for more consensus.